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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wondeful Read
I didn't know anything about this novel before I bought it and was not familiar with Ann Patchett.

Set in the Amazon, Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, finds herself on a remarkable quest. She is looking for Dr. Annick Swenson, who has been working in the Amazon on a valuable new drug for years. The company is...
Published on July 10 2011 by Syd Lewis

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite work for me
Ann Patchett is a gifted writer who's always interesting (for me) to read. Here her descriptions of American scientists and the Amazon jungle are wonderful. This book doesn't quite work, IMO. There are long draggy parts and I found myself skipping pages. Patchett's plot has a Heart of Darkness quality to it, though here it's more Heart of Primal Innocence Meets...
Published 16 months ago by Carol Read


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wondeful Read, July 10 2011
This review is from: State Of Wonder: A Novel (Hardcover)
I didn't know anything about this novel before I bought it and was not familiar with Ann Patchett.

Set in the Amazon, Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, finds herself on a remarkable quest. She is looking for Dr. Annick Swenson, who has been working in the Amazon on a valuable new drug for years. The company is unable to gauge her progress and so first sends Marina's colleague, Anders Eckman, to find Dr. Swenson. He dies under mysterious circumstances so Marina is sent to see what she can find out about Anders' death and Dr. Swenson's research.

From there the story takes many twists and turns. Marina gets sidetracked by a young Australian couple who is protecting Dr. Swenson, but eventually she does get to the research station in the jungle. Dr. Swenson, can be ruthless, but also strong and principled. While discovering a tree whose bark could lead to increased fertility in women, she stumbles upon another cure - one which she is protecting - even from the pharmaceutical company she works for because she fears they will not want to develop it.

I really felt like I was in the Amazon while reading this book. I loved all the characters, who are often drawn with great honesty and affection.

I thought the book was amazing and now I am going back and reading all of Patchett that I can get my hands on. I'm 70 pages into Bel Canto and loving it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite work for me, March 29 2013
By 
Carol Read - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: State Of Wonder (Paperback)
Ann Patchett is a gifted writer who's always interesting (for me) to read. Here her descriptions of American scientists and the Amazon jungle are wonderful. This book doesn't quite work, IMO. There are long draggy parts and I found myself skipping pages. Patchett's plot has a Heart of Darkness quality to it, though here it's more Heart of Primal Innocence Meets Self-Deluded North Americans. I finished reading this only because it was a book club requirement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Amazon, May 13 2012
By 
Novel Girl (Alberta,Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: State Of Wonder: A Novel (Hardcover)
I just finished this book and I really enjoyed it.
From start to finish the reader is emersed in the Amazon. This book is so vividly well written you feel like you are there with the characters every time you pick it up. You feel the bugs, the heat, and moisture of all the foilage that make up the forest. You "are" gently floating in a boat with your hand dipping in the water as you look around you at all things beautiful and unknown in a state of wonder.
The pharmaceutical company plot is very intriguing, and hooks you right from the start as you follow the characters from the city to the amazon.
Also weaved around and inside this main story; Ann Patchett flawlessly writes about her characters loves & loss, emotions and mistakes; and the lives lived in between. This is a beautifully written book that leaves you thinking for a while after. This is one of Ann Patchetts Best!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her best yet!, May 5 2012
By 
A. Houston (BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: State Of Wonder (Paperback)
Although I really enjoyed Bel Canto, this book definitely tops that one. I was drawn in right from the start, and now that I am finished it, I miss the characters, and find myself wondering how they adjusted to life in the real world after their return from the Amazon. I felt like I was living in Marina's skin and experienced life in the Amazon without actually having to suffer its discomforts. I thought the characters were well developed and I could practically see them. It was excellent storytelling in my opinion, and would recommend it highly, especially for those with a scientific/medical bend. Looking forward to her next novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book makes reference to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", Jan. 25 2012
This review is from: State Of Wonder (Paperback)
This book makes reference to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." According to Joseph Conrad, there are three levels of darkness: [1] the darkness of Congo Wilderness [2] the darkness of the Belgiums' cruel treatment of the African natives [3] the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil.

I would recommend that the reader think about how the above three points relate to the book "State of Wonder."

===

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was a good book. It was fun to read. The words, sentences and paragraphs were well-constructed. The whole book seemed to flow like an Amazon river that at times I would lose track of the plot. I enjoyed the sense of adventure in the story and I enjoyed Marina's character. I don't think she was overly ambitious, nor do I think she had a purpose in her life. Like the early years of Buster Keaton, I believe Marina's character embraced life rather then trying to control it. I believe the book to be mostly about Marina's character however there is no doubt that Ann Patchett did touch on some very modern 2011 issues.

=====
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars State of Wonder, July 28 2011
By 
Linda Ewart "Cousin Rachel" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: State Of Wonder (Paperback)
When I saw this book and heard the author interviewed on CBC it sounded intriguing but I didn't immediately realize she was also the author of 'Bel Canto'. Once I did, it was the reason I purchased 'State of Wonder'. However, this book proved a great disappointment.
Although the descriptions of the Amazon river, indigenous people and jungle were interesting, and Patchett is a skillful craftswoman, even though I read this book only a week ago, I've already forgetten the name of the protagonist. Unlike the characters in 'Bel Canto', those populating S of W, were in no way compelling- perhaps it was the portrayal of them as having 'clinically scientific personalities'(read bloodless) which I found off-putting- the love affair, could it be called that, with her boss; her search for her collegue which ended in a sexual encounter that given his background story seemed to me implausible and almost an afterthought and the brief and mild guilt at returning her young guide to his 'tribe' in a trade made me think this woman was as emotionless as the snake she described in great detail....and the Uber-scientist whose only comment after a caesarian was 'remember to save the specimen'.....chilling. On CBC Patchett spoke about her protagonist as someone shy and reserved and in no way adventurous and as if the book explored her transition beyond that but that just didn't happen in the reading, which I felt was a real error in character development - I you got no sense that her experiences in the jungle changed her in any way and that she'd go back to exactly the same life and relationships in spite of what had happened. How dismal!
However, after such widely divergent feelings over the two Ann Patchett novels I have read, I suppose now to be fair I'll have to read another to see whether she is someone I want to continue to read - as I devour the writings of Joyce Carol Oates and Sebastian Barry!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Draaggyy and got bored!, July 11 2014
This review is from: State of Wonder (Kindle Edition)
Had a very hard time reading this book, just blah and very draggy and very dark and not sunshiny like it was suppossed to be when they went to the beach. I actually said to myself "They are at the beach??" Not lighthearted and fun like the beach is suppossed to be. The writing had me going back quite a few times and reread for I would be like "what?"
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1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and plodding, April 30 2014
After reading Bell Canto, which I admit took a bit of time for me to get into, but then I loved it, I found State of Wonder to be a great letdown. The characters were boring and one dimensional. There was none of the rich relationship connecting that was done in Patchetts previous books like Run and Bell Canto. The theme of the book sounded quite intriguing but it didn't come through in the story telling. I finally gave up half way through the book. You know it's a bad sign when you are wondering why the chapters are so long and I readily put the book down in the middle of the page versus 'just reading one more chapter' for the books I love.
Thank goodness, I only borrowed it from the library. Don't let the overall 3.5 Star rating fool you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! I loved it!, Jan. 29 2014
This review is from: State of Wonder (Kindle Edition)
It felt as if I was really there experiencing it all; in Venezuela, in the jungle, part of the list of characters, learning how to live in the jungle. The story was fascinating and gripping. I couldn't put it down!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Book Review, Jan. 26 2014
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This is a review from someone who isn't an avid reader.
Not enough to keep me attached to the novel, near the middle of the book, felt like it was a chore to read because I didn't find it as adventurous and action-packed as I had hoped.
Was not a bad book, but personally, this style of writing was not of preference; ending was interesting though.
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State Of Wonder: A Novel
State Of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett (Hardcover - June 7 2011)
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